How to Create Your Own Family Traditions

Here's how to create meaningful traditions for your family this holiday season. Ensure quality time with family and friends as you celebrate the holidays with peace and joy.

How to create family traditions

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My favorite traditions for the Christmas holiday are probably not yours. 

And no doubt your traditions differ from those of your neighbor.

That's what makes each of our families special and unique.

If I'm being honest, I would willingly trade in some of our traditions for new ones. One is having to watch yet another rerun of our 'favorite' movie. 

While some traditions just need re-examining, a change in situation can generate the need for new traditions. You might be welcoming new family members, travelling for the holidays, or exploring meal ideas the family can make together.

When you're ready to re-think the traditions that linger from your childhood, or you want new activities that work for your growing family, these suggestions can help.

How to create your own family traditions

Holidays can become so hectic that we barely have time to relax and enjoy them.

Having a few must-do traditions in place will ensure you make time for the things that matter most to you and your family.

Your traditions should reflect or compliment the ways you engage in the spirit of the season.

  • Do you entertain family and friends?

  • Do you enjoy community events like caroling. a sleigh ride. or a town hall Christmas tree lighting?

  • Will activities be focused around small children at home? 

As you think about your hopes and expectations for the Christmas season, let your imagination, together with the needs of your family, be your guide.

Be flexible, traditions may change over time as your family grows or changes.

Be creative, be thoughtful, be a little spontaneous as you develop the traditions that make an event special.

Here are a few tips to help you generate your own family traditions.

1. Search your family history.   

Make the old new again!

Holiday traditions often span many generations and many extended families.

They include everything from hanging a wreath on the door, and watching a favorite movie, to choosing the perfect Christmas tree from a local tree farm.

If you discover that Great Aunt Sarah read the Christmas story by candlelight, maybe you can add candles to your Christmas Eve hot chocolate routine.

If you have fond memories of your family gathering around the piano for an annual sing-song, maybe you and the kids can make homemade instruments and sing familiar carols together.

Song Books (affiliate links)

Lyrics of the most amazing songs of all timeChristmas Carols Song Book   

Eight classic carols touch and feel hardcover book:  The Christmas Song Book  

Interactive children's song book: Christmas Songs  

2. Examine your current lifestyle.

Is a recurring tradition outdated or no longer feasible?

Families grow and change.

  • You've had a new baby, or an elderly parent has come to live with you.

  • You've just moved into an apartment with limited space.

  • Ingredients for a family recipe are no longer available at your nearest supermarket.

For whatever reason, continuing an annual tradition is not an option, or not practical.

Try these options.

1. Recipes with fewer ingredients and less preparation time may be more suited to busy families and picky eaters. You can replace traditional foods such as plum pudding and fruitcake with a carrot cake or a store-bought yule log. 

2. Services and events may not be easily accessed. If you traditionally attend an evening service on Christmas Eve, maybe there is an earlier service for families with small children.

3. Ask for suggestions.    

What does everyone really wish they were doing?

Schedule some quality family time with sit-down planning to prompt reflection and conversation.

Create a cozy atmosphere while you brainstorm!

  • Play some Christmas music.

  • Enjoy warm ginger cookies fresh from the oven.

  • Grab a pencil and paper and a calendar.

You might discover that it's OK to trade in the sleigh ride for skating on an outdoor rink, or playing soccer in the snow.

Maybe the kids actually prefer cinnamon rolls or smores to the popcorn you traditionally prepare for movie night. If popcorn remains the favorite choice, try serving it with candy cane chopsticks!

Speaking of movie night, can the rerun unanimously be replaced with a movie or series that's currently trending?

Don't rule anything out until you've collected all the suggestions.

Creating your own holiday traditions in a festive atmosphere can be an amazing experience for the whole family.

Then take time to review the options and make a plan.


4. Review, plan, enjoy.

Review your list of suggestions. 

  • You'll need time to explore logistics or other limitations for activities.

  • Pencil ideas into a calendar to see what can be planned and when.

  • Remain flexible. Be prepared with another option when your first choice isn't convenient.

Once you establish what works for your family, anticipate the fun events and activities you'll enjoy in the coming season.

New or old, traditions make the holiday season unique to your family and friends.

With a fondness for the old and an eye to the new, you can create a schedule of events that everyone looks forward to.

Is that still our favorite movie? Really?

Your family traditions will provide a little comfort and joy for all at this special time of year.


Smart family traditions you can start


Christmas crafts and activities on Pinterest.


More holiday traditions from family-friendly bloggers 

Fun Christmas Pajama Traditions / Fantastic Fun and Learning

Unique + Kid-Friendly Family Christmas Traditions / A Mother Far From Home



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